Friday, October 29, 2010

Slow Food's Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre, another chapter












If you have never heard of the "Slow Food" movement, then you must not be from around these parts. Then again, you probably aren't alone. They say that over 200,000 people attended this year's edition of "Slow Food's" "Salone del Gusto 2010". It was a big woop de do, really. A little background for you if you are unfamiliar, otherwise you can just skip down to the photos.  The "Slow Food" movement was born in Piedmont Italy in the small town of Bra, as a protest against the rise of fast food culture seeping into Italy. Specifically the installation of a McDonalds near the Spanish Steps in Rome was the outrage that pushed the original group to action. Now, some 25 years later, the "Slow Food" movement has gone global and metastasized into many different avenues of food networks and communities. It continues to evolve into so many facets, with recognition and development for high quality food, their producers and consumers. The emphasis being on small biodiverse farms and related producers to be able to support themselves and their families with ancient traditions and modern innovations while not harming the environment or the consumers. Building relationships and opportunities to share ideas and brainstorm how we can move forward together in a sustainable model of  decent food for all. Lofty goals indeed and difficult to attain, and yet we must try. They have started a conversation about food and the politics of food, that is gaining momentum and needs to flourish and take place on many levels. So we start at the grass roots level and every 2 years the "Salone del Gusto", provides a market place open to the public with a reasonable entrance fee, €20, where buyers and sellers can meet and sample all the wondrous products on offer. 
So much to taste so little time
There are presentations of various food and drink in smaller settings as well as "pull out the stops" dinners, showcasing high quality and often unusual or rare ingredients turned out by celebrity chefs.  There are opportunities to participate in the smaller "Taste Workshops" that showcase a variety of diverse subjects like, "Cheese and Mostarda from the Po Valley" or "the Vermouths of Catalonia", to name just a couple.
Pomodorini from Calabria
There is also Terra Madre, which grew out of a need to give small producers, world wide,  a voice and visibility in which to develop sustainable food networks and communities. This loosely knit consortium comes together, here in Torino, to support, discuss, and debate the politics and ecology of food. A place to exam the many facets and layers of food, a sharing of ideas and ways to impact positively in our global community. Food is definitely one of my passions and I feel passionate about the way it is produced and concerned that everyone should have access to and be able to afford wholesome food. Fabrizio and I share this passion. It is a human rights issue for me. Naturally, we appreciate and support the goals of this organization as it continues to evolve and work in our own way to raise awareness while supporting local growers and traditional foods an culture.
Fabrizio and I feel strongly about preserving the culture and traditions of our mountain region. We created our T.E.M. association (Touristic Ecosostenibile Montano/ Sustainable Mountain Tourism) several years ago to help support the local economy while promoting our greater valley through culinary tourism showcasing local food and producers. We also are involved with clearing and marking of our local mountain paths and stocking the mountain streams with trout, and a wide variety of other projects all aimed at preserving and reviving the mountain traditions and bringing tourism into our area that will have a positive impact.
Fabrizio and I have worked closely the past few years with our friends the Bernard family traveling abroad to help with the English speakers. We also have been involved with the Regione Piemonte and the Provincia di Torino with the "Paniere" (basket of typical products) producers and to bring to fruition of our "Strada Reale dei Vini Torinese" in hopes of broadening our Piemontese promotion.

These Scandinavian Terre Madre delegates'
(who stopped by Bernards a few times)
faces summed up the spirit of the "Salone del Gusto" for me!
When I wasn't working at the Bernard booth I got a round to snap a few photos and run into some of the  other Slow Food people we have met at some of the other festivals. I must also thank artisan chocolatier Chef Gaetan Tessier, one of the owners of "ChocoMotive" from Montebello, Quebec, who so graciously remembered our conversation of 2 years ago and how I missed having cranberries. He brought me a huge bag of dried ones. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see him, so he gave them to Fabrizio for me. What a sweetheart and what a score! I can hardly wait to put them into all kinds of goodies. He also gave us a sample of their chocolates and they are worth tracking down. Gorgeous and delicious!

 I can't show you the ChocMotive chocolates, because we already devoured them. Urp! Here's another chocolatiers wares from the show. 
Whimsical and I'm sure tasty
 I can't show you the ChocMotive chocolates, because we already devoured them. Urp! Here's another chocolatiers wares from the show.
This  delicious 5 kg Gilber Pannetone bakes for 3 hours in the oven
and perfect for New Years festivities
I loved the Pear and Fig one! 
The street food was great.
Love, love, love, fresh Ligurian farinata!
Always entertaining.
Colorful

Musical 
and always temptingly delicious!
Don't miss the 2012 edition of the Salone del Gusto!
It's worth the saving up and waiting!
We'll see you there.

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